Discussion on Society and Corruption

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Discussion on Society and Corruption

Society and Corruption

The most commonly talked about topic in India is corruption, but it is also the only topic that does not have any conclusion. In fact, corruption has very much become a part of the system and removing it is a Herculean task. Greed is the single factor that has given rise to corruption, which pervades society like a cancer. The indictment of former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, the Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu and Bihar, Jayalalitha and Laloo Prasad Yadav, may provide some solace to Indian citizens, but not for long as these politicians have a habit of bouncing back to power. Our politicians are too thick-skinned and carry on regardless of the consequences. The name of the game is to play it but not get caught. It is strange how shamelessly we disregard corruption, else how does one explain the return to power of politicians such as Jayalalitha?

Corruption is as old as history. Judas was bought for a few pieces of silver. The Mir Jaffers have played their role repeatedly in the chronicles of India. The past few thousand years have been replete with instances when high and low were bought by invaders and the country ruled by outsiders. Nothing has changed to this day. Even now, most politicians place personal interest over national interest and security. Of course, almost every country in the world suffers from corruption to varying degrees and it is an international phenomenon.

In many developing countries, despite corruption, work and productivity do not suffer unduly. In our country, even if you bribe somebody to get a job done or speed it up, neither might necessarily happen. Despite economic reforms and the abolition of the Licence Raj, there are many avenues used by politicians, the bureaucracy' and other vested interests to block progress. Ask any foreign investor and they will tell you about the major deterrents in India. Along with globalisation of business, Indians have institutionalised the globalisation of corruption. Surprisingly, the "haves" can indulge in more corruption than the "have-nots". Corruption is from the top to the bottom. If the upper echelon can raise their morals and control their greed, then corruption could definitely decrease.

In India, the mafia controls many states. It is necessary to free the economy, particularly from the clutches of those administering property and land. Municipal corporations and other local bodies need to be overhauled. Imagine the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) telling the High Court it cannot do anything about the corruption in its rank and file! It is best to make land available on freehold and have a quasi-judicial independent regulatory body to administer the master plan of cities, instead of a town development authority. Similarly defence and other deals involving large amounts should be scrutinised by outside independent bodies, rather than in- house screening where political pressures swing decisions. All politicians should be made to declare their assets and some mechanisms put in place to scrutinise their holdings. There are countless politicians whose assets are totally disproportionate to their known sources of income.

 

The frustration of the average citizen in daily life is apparent. He has to pay bribes to get an electric meter, flat allotment, gas connection or anything else required from a government organisation. The entire system has been systematically corrupted and compromised, destroying the way of life of our nation. There seems to be no way to avoid paying for services that should be a matter of right for citizens. How long can the system bear this onslaught without sinking into anarchy as is happening in states like Bihar and UP? We have to evolve a mechanism to bring corrupt politicians to book to ensure the progress of our nation. 



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